Month: August 2011

Churchill’s Rule of Criticism

Churchill’s Rule of Criticism

In the Wall Street Jour­nal let­ters col­umn, 2 August 2011, under the head­ing, “Once again, Churchill sets a high stan­dard,” we read that Churchill “had a rule of nev­er crit­i­ciz­ing a pol­i­cy after the event unless he had giv­en his opin­ion before.” Did he real­ly have such a rule? —M.M., Cleve­land

The Journal’s cor­re­spon­dent can say that on good author­i­ty.

In the third para­graph of his pref­ace to The World Cri­sis, vol. 1 (1923), Churchill writes: “I have made or implied no crit­i­cism of any deci­sion of action tak­en or neglect­ed by oth­ers, unless I can prove that I had expressed the same opin­ion in writ­ing before the event.” (Ital­ics his.)

In the third para­graph of his pref­ace toThe Gath­er­ing Storm (1948), Churchill writes: “I have adhered to my rule of nev­er crit­i­cis­ing any mea­sure of war or pol­i­cy after the event unless I had before expressed pub­licly or for­mal­ly my opin­ion or warn­ing about it.…

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Churchill on the Debt Limit Crisis

Churchill on the Debt Limit Crisis

“I do not believe in look­ing about for some panacea or cure-all on which we should stake our cred­it and for­tunes, try­ing to sell it like a patent med­i­cine to all and sundry. It is easy to win applause by talk­ing in an airy way about great new depar­tures in pol­i­cy, espe­cial­ly if all detailed pro­pos­als are avoid­ed.”

No, Sir Win­ston has not inter­rupt­ed his first mil­lion years paint­ing to com­ment on the recent­ly “resolved” debt debate, rais­ing the Unit­ed States Nation­al Debt by anoth­er piece of pocket-change—$2.4 tril­lion (a debate held not between bor­row­er and lender, like you and I would, but two sets of bor­row­ers, or rather spenders: the Democ­rats and Republicans—as Mark Steyn apt­ly put it.). The com­ment above is from 5 Octo­ber 1946.…

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